The Jeuns

Enhanced Team Approach Improves Quality of Life for Cancer Patients

March 28, 2024 | by The Jeuns

A recent study published in The Lancet suggests that a stepped collaborative care intervention can significantly improve the health-related quality of life for patients with cancer who also experience symptoms of depression, pain, or fatigue.

Led by Jennifer L. Steel, Ph.D., from the University of Pittsburgh, the study conducted a randomized phase 3 trial in 29 oncology outpatient clinics. The trial aimed to compare the efficacy of an integrated screening and a novel stepped collaborative care intervention against the standard of care among patients aged 21 years and older with cancer and at least one of the aforementioned symptoms.

A total of 459 patients and 190 family caregivers participated in the study, with 237 patients being assigned to the stepped collaborative care intervention and 222 to standard of care. The stepped collaborative care intervention included once-weekly cognitive behavioral therapy sessions delivered via telemedicine.

The results of the study showed that patients in the stepped collaborative care group experienced a significant improvement in health-related quality of life from zero to six months when compared to those in the standard-of-care group. This improvement was maintained over time, with patients in the stepped collaborative care group reporting greater improvements in emotional, functional, and physical well-being.

The authors of the study noted that the changes in health-related quality of life were both significant and clinically meaningful, with a small-to-moderate effect size observed. Additionally, no adverse events were reported by either group, and deaths were deemed unrelated to the study.

Overall, the study highlights the potential benefits of a stepped collaborative care approach for patients with cancer experiencing symptoms of depression, pain, or fatigue. Further research in this area could help improve the quality of life for individuals dealing with cancer and associated symptoms.

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